Hotel Leelaventure on Monday said it plans to open three-star hotels at important pilgrimage cities and towns under ‘Leela Gardens' brand. The hospitality firm will also raise Rs.1,950 crore through the sale of equity and assets to repay its debt.

“There is a plan to set up three-star hotels in pilgrimage centres under the ‘Leela Garden' brand by 2013. There would be around 30-40 such hotels in places like Varanasi, Mysore, Haridwar, Rishikesh and Nalanda that attract a large number of visitors for religious purposes,” Leela Group Chairman C.P. Krishnan Nair told journalists after opening of the company's new property in the Capital. About the firm's plans to raise money, Hotel Leelaventure Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Vivek Nair said: “We expect an inflow of Rs.1,950 crore, which will be primarily used to reduce the current debt of Rs.3,800 crore…we are close to concluding a preferential allotment of equity shares in the next 6-8 weeks time to private equity investors. There would be stake sale of about 14.95 per cent to either one or two players for about Rs.600 crore.”

The group has created business parks in Chennai and Bangalore that the company plans to sell in the next two months, he said, and added: “We are also building upmarket residential complexes in Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore for selling. “

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